Aug 16: Sustainability Salon on Environmental Art

The 31st Putting Down Roots Sustainability Salon (see below if that's new to you) will take place on Saturday, August 16th (2-10 p.m).  The topic will be Environmental Art. And mark your calendar:  the 32nd Sustainability Salon on Climate Change will be on September 6th, and we'll be hosting a house concert on September 14th.  Please be sure to RSVP if you might come...  and read on for important information:  


The 31st Sustainability Salon will focus on environmental art:  art that teaches us about the natural environment, art that makes us think about our relationship to it, and art that is in direct service to the environment -- and thus to humanity, for we are part of it.  We'll hear from three very different Pittsburgh collaboratives.

The passenger pigeon returns -- to Sustainability Salons:  Artist, educator, and writer Ann Rosenthal addresses the local manifestation of global concerns, including climate change, food safety, and nuclear waste. Her work has been shown at the Andy Warhol Museum and the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh;  Exit Art and the Hudson River Museum in New York;  the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education in Philadelphia;  and Kunsthaus Kaufbeuren in Germany.  She also directs LOCUS – a creative commons where art, community and ecology meet.
For 2014, Ann and collaborator Steffi Domike are developing Moving Targets, an art installation that links the artists’ shared cultural heritage and family migrations to the story of the American passenger pigeon.  For the centenary of the extinction of the passenger pigeon this year, the artists are working with a coalition of environmental and arts institutions in Pittsburgh to promote a series of regional events.  In case the reference in the title of this section is obscure to you, I'll note that in May, CMNH's Pat McShea brought an actual passenger pigeon to share this century-old cautionary tale of species extinction with salongoers.

Local ecoartists with a global reach:  The Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) gathers ideas that seek to create substantive models for change by addressing renewable energy infrastructure within the genre of public art.  The goal of the founders, Robert Ferry & Elizabeth Monoian, is to design and construct a series of large-scale site-specific installations that uniquely combine art with utility-scale clean energy generation.  The artworks utilize the latest in renewable energy science as media for their construction, and help to innovate the application of new technologies. Each land art generator sculpture has the potential to provide power to hundreds or even thousands of homes, while fulfilling its traditional role—public art as conceptually engaging amenity to our common space.
Elizabeth and Rob will discuss the LAGI competitions held for Dubai/Abu Dhabi, New York City, and Copenhagen and the portfolio of ideas that have come from the project. But we will begin the talk by providing a context for LAGI within the history of art and architecture, eco art, sustainable urban planning, and the net positive movement. 

Artists, educators, and activists Tom & Connie Merriman have been working on projects in academia and in the community for decades.  
Constance Merriman creates art works that are made in response to formal issues of art and to the social and environmental impact caused by the worldwide extraction of fuel for energy.  She uses a wide variety of media to create works that have been exhibited in galleries, museums and other public settings.  Connie is an adjunct professor in the School of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University and an instructor at the Carnegie Museum of Art.  She also engages in residencies with communities and schools through the Mattress Factory Museum and The Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.
Thomas Merriman is a teaching professor in the School of Design and teaches courses in furniture design, form generation, and prototyping.  His primary interest is in the process of reconciling design intent with the constraints of materials and process in the generation of form.  As a fellow at the STUDIO, Merriman, he and Connie studied the role of the natural world in urban environments and the role of humans in the natural world.  Merriman also collaborated with faculty from the School of Psychology at New York University to develop methods and instrumentation for studying motor skill development in infants.  Merriman holds a BFA in Sculpture from Carnegie Mellon University and previously worked for the U.S. Steel Corporation and was a partner of The Transit Shop, a co-operative furniture making shop.  He continues to design and build furniture for private clients.

If you haven't been here before, you may enjoy checking out our roof garden and solar installation (and now apiary!) as well as the many other interesting things around our place.  That'll mainly be happening between 2 & 4 p.m. 

2-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill.  Please don't arrive before 2pm.  We'll aim to introduce speakers beginning around 4pm after folks have had a chance to meet, mingle, and tour around an interesting and productive urban permaculture site.  With the earlier start time (tested during our recent Sunday salon, when we also ended early) we're going to try really hard to get the talks started in a timely manner while still having enough mingling-time!  Please email me with salon in the Subject line to RSVP (yes or maybe), or click on the link in your EventBrite invitation (if you're not already on my list, please email me to be added!).  Please RSVP each time -- it helps greatly in several ways.  Among other things, attendance varies widely, and these events have been so successful that we need to begin limiting attendance.  So RSVP early if you can, to ensure your participation!  The free virtual "tickets" on Eventbrite may run out (you don't need to print any tickets, by the way, just be on the list).  Also, weather and such can be unpredictable and it's good to know who to contact if there's a change -- and I'll send directions and/or a trail map if you need 'em on Friday or Saturday.  Be sure to include salon in the Subject line, as I receive a ridiculous amount of email every day.  And if you're new, please let me know how you heard about the Salons!

Bring food and/or drink to share if you can, along with musical instruments if you play.  Check back on MarensList (where you can find information on all sorts of environmental and social justice events) for updates.  And if you aren't yet on my list, if you're interested in Sustainability Salons (and our occasional house concert, simply contact me and I'll put you on my email list.  

Note once again that I'll be sending out directions and such, and any late-breaking info, to all the RSVP'd folks by the morning of the salon if not before.  So if you don't have it yet, please be patient! One of these days I'll streamline this process a bit, but for now it takes a while to to dot all my i's and cross all my t's.  (All the extraneous requests for the address don't help;  I have lots of other stuff I send out with it, but don't like to let them go unanswered so it adds hours to my prep time.  If you RSVP properly (see above), you should get the info by the morning of the salon!)
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For the uninitiated, a Sustainability Salon is an educational forum;  a venue for discussion and debate about important environmental issues;  a house party with an environmental theme.  We usually have featured speakers on various aspects of a topic, interspersed with stimulating conversation, lively debate, delectable potluck food and drink, and music-making through the evening.
Past topics have included environmental education (Part I & Part II), community mapping projectsenvironmental journalismgrassroots actioncommunity solar powerMarcellus shale development and community rightsgreen buildingair qualityhealth care, solar powertrees and park stewardshipalternative energy and climate policy, regional watershed issues, fantastic film screenings and discussions (led by filmmakers) over the winter with Living DownstreamBidder 70YERTGas Rush Stories, and foodfoodfoodfood, and more food.

Quite a few people have asked me what sorts of food to bring -- and my answer, as always, is whatever inspires you;  I believe in the "luck" part of potlucks.  Tasty noshings for the afternoon, hearty main dishes or scrumptious salads and sides for dinner, baked goods from biscuits and breads to brownies or baklava -- and/or beverages of any kind:  wine, beer, hard or sweet cider (the latter we can mull if you like), juice, tea, whatever (I've got the kombucha covered, though it's always fun to compare).  The more the merrier!  Local fare is always particularly welcome, whether homegrown or boughten.  Dishes containing meat or dairy are fine, though if it isn't really obvious please make a note of it.  

And if you like to make music or listen to homemade music, don't forget the evening sing -- we typically run the gamut from Irish fiddle tunes to protest songs to the Beatles, and a fun time is had by all.  Bring instruments if you play, and/or pick up one of ours.  Conversations will continue through the evening, as well. 



And if you like to make music or listen to homemade music, don't forget the evening sing -- we typically run the gamut from Irish fiddle tunes to protest songs to the Beatles, and a fun time is had by all.  Bring instruments if you play, and/or pick up one of ours.  Conversations will continue through the evening, as well. 


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